Solving towards the needs of Village forestry in Tanzania

Being at the forefront of Forest digitization, Wuudis received a client project facing challenges to manage the village forest information through an integrated approach. This is the case of FORVAC, a project running by FCG International in Tanzania. The operations of FORVAC project is geographically wide-spreaded across Tanzania with three clusters namely Tanga, Lindi and Ruvuma and the project management team Located in Dodoma. FORVAC main objective is to increase economic, social and environmental benefits from forests and woodlands by developing forest sector value chain, sustainable forestry and forest-based livelihoods. 

Due to the distributed nature of village forestry, there is a challenge to collect, manage and analyze the forest data. Usually, the operations at village level are documented in off-line mode using papers and spreadsheets.  But there is a need to digitize the forest data to create a transparent chain of custody of the wood coming from villagers, so that they get comparable price for their wood in domestic and international market. The project is aware of the problem in using papers and spreadsheets when managing forest data from different villages. It became risky, resource consuming and not efficient at all. As a result, the data and information management for FORVAC becoming increasingly problematic. There is no one single digital tool that can solve the purpose. It needs an integrated approach by combining multiple tools, keeping in view the specific needs of the business case.

Wuudis has approached the business case in a systematic way. Firstly, knowing the ground reality (how challenging is the business environment in field?) is a necessity. Secondly, interactions with cluster coordinators and training them about the possibilities of using digital tools to collect and manage day to day data coming from village forestry. Thirdly, a functional system covering the entire value chain i.e., scalability has to be in mind. Fourthly, the design iterations to define the system requirements. Fiftly, the financial sustainability of the system i.e., what are the cost implications for the maintenance and update of such a system in long run. Hence, we were pleased to accept the challenge to develop a truly holistic and sustainable ‘management information system (MIS)’ for FORVAC.  

There is a need of trustable data for the success of the MIS system. The risk of data manipulation can be avoided by introducing digital tools in field data collection. Those tools need to be robust and easy to use for the workers in field. But field data is just one data source for the system. There exists multiple data streams joining into the MIS system. Therefore, the combability between different data sources and organizing the data in a scalable way is a big part of this mission.  

Wuudis is currently providing the solutions for the village forestry MIS system for FORVAC. This includes system training, manuals, programs and software solutions to manage their distributed village forestry data and information. This helps them to achieve transparency, cost-effectiveness and systematic planning of their operations at village level forestry. It provides the complete accountability of all project activities and helps reporting to the client in one-click. As a part of this solution, we find out the further needs of developing an integrated village forest level market information system on top of this MIS system. Currently, Wuudis is responsible for the upgrade, maintenance and user training of the system.  

Wuudis is excited to become a part of this journey to contribute towards of novel aims of FORVAC. We look forward to further serve the local people of Tanzania to increase their livelihood from forest.

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